A man in Bihar beat up his wife severely because she gave birth to a baby girl. In Uttar Pradesh, a husband had slit open his wife’s belly to verify the baby’s gender. These incidents happen almost every day throughout the country. 

Female infanticide and killing girl child is still common in various regions of India. A study indicates that due to selective abortions, 6.8 million lesser female births will be reported in the country by 2030.

No matter how technologically advanced India gets, there are still a lot of superstitions and myths existing in today’s society. One such myth is, the mother decides the sex of the child. For decades now, women have been blamed and harassed for delivering a girl child. 

To bust this myth, it is important to understand how sex determination works. This helps in uplifting females in the country and also to fight women’s suppression. 

 Cellular science to the aid

Let’s try to logically understand cellular science. Cells are the basic building blocks of every living organism, and we humans have trillions of cells. They perform many vital functions that are essential for the development and growth of an organism. 

Each cell in the human body normally contains 23 pairs of chromosomes. Autosomes which constitute 22 pairs of these are identical in both males and females. The 23rd pair called the sex chromosomes are responsible for sex determination. Women are homogametic and have XX-type of sex chromosomes. However, men are heterogametic and have XY-type of sex chromosomes. 

Women produce identical types of eggs each containing the X chromosome. However, the sperms produced by men are not identical and can have either X chromosome or Y chromosome. When the sperm with the X chromosome fuses with an egg, a fetus of XX type is formed – which means a girl. Similarly, when sperm with the Y chromosome fuses with an egg, a fetus of YY type is formed – which means a boy. So the father contributes the deciding factor, and the sex of the child doesn’t depend on the mother in any way.

Need for awareness 

This common fact has been kept under wraps and did not receive enough publicity. Doctors and other influential people should take the initiative to spread awareness around this. It would help bring down the numbers of female infanticides, and women will no longer have to be at the receiving end of this blame game.

Also, it is now a criminal offense to get information about the child’s gender before birth. The government of India came up with a scheme called “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”, which means “Save girl child, Educate girl child”. Women are no lesser than men, in any aspect and they proved this time and again.  Knowledge and awareness are the only way forward for our country to empower girls and women in India. 

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